Like the vast majority of student orgs on campus, we at The Miami Student were counting on Mega Fair. Everything was ready. The posters, the sign-up sheet, the friendly faces betraying a slight desperation for new members.
And it was all shot when Mega Fair was canceled due to bad weather. Twice.
Before we go any further, it’s important to note that we in no way blame the students involved in Miami Activities and Programming (MAP) tasked with putting Mega Fair together. They work ridiculously hard to make sure organizations were represented and students had an opportunity to get involved on campus.
Our issue is with the lack of a solid contingency plan when it comes to the scheduling and administration of Mega Fair in the event of bad weather.
The seniors on our staff agreed that we’ve only had fall Mega Fair on the originally scheduled day once in the last four years. Our recollections may be wrong, but the point stands that weather complications are not a new problem for the event.
When the first iteration of Mega Fair was cancelled, anyone who looked at the rain date knew it was destined to fail. The storm that wrecked Mega Fair: Take Two was on the radar a week in advance.
So why was Mega Fair rescheduled for that next Wednesday? Why Wednesdays at all? Why can’t we reschedule for the next day if it has to be postponed?
We’re sure there are financial and technical answers to these questions, but flexibility in the administrative aspects of Mega Fair would only improve the experience.
The decision to postpone Mega Fair on the first week of classes was premature. It rained for what, 15 minutes?
The second attempt overcompensated. Members of student organizations were taking cover under the tables, trying to cover their freshly-printed flyers and just hoping not to be hit by lightning as they stood in an open field surrounded by metal.
When Mega Fair was finally canceled, the information spilled out in a tangle. Emails were sent at different times throughout the evening. Some people didn’t even get the notice until the next morning. Some students, many of whom are not on the Hub, didn’t get any notification at all.
While this is probably the worst instance of bad weather in the last four years of Mega Fair, it’s not the first time weather has caused problems. There should be a better rain plan.
And if the administration doesn’t want to deal with the rain, we suggest a simpler solution: Move it inside.
The indoor space on campus is only increasing with every expansion of Armstrong Student Center. Miami has held Mega Fair in Millett Hall in the past. Why can’t we do that now?
If Millett is too remote, there’s Armstrong or Shriver Center. They’re centrally located and, more importantly, they aren’t rendered unusable by rain. Even if the appeal of a raucous outdoor fair is lost, at least the event is safe.
Mega Fair is essential for both organizations and individual students. Clubs on campus depend on recruiting new members at the event to grow their numbers and ensure they get funding. But because Mega Fair has been pushed back so many times, those opportunities have passed. Auditions for organizations like Sketched Out have finished and people have lost interest.
The mini-Mega Fairs don’t make up for it. These events are lesser-known, poorly advertised and cater to people who already have an interest in certain organizations. The chance of discovering an organization you didn’t know existed is drastically reduced. And the mini-Mega Fairs are smack in the middle of prime class time.
There needs to be better high-level planning organization for Mega Fair. It is too important to the Miami community for its success to be dictated by the weather.